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Buenos Aires: Central Union of Polish Jews in Argentina, 245 pages. New York: Bantam Books, 1982. Wiesel becomes his resentful teenage caregiver. If only I could get rid of this dead weight  Immediately I felt ashamed of myself, ashamed forever. Everyone lives and dies for himself alone. April 1945, too late for his father, who died after a beating while Wiesel lay silently on the bunk above for fear of being beaten too.

Wiesel has called it his deposition, but scholars have had difficulty approaching it as an unvarnished account. The literary critic Ruth Franklin writes that the pruning of the text from Yiddish to French transformed an angry historical account into a work of art. Wiesel’s transition during and after the Holocaust from darkness to light, according to the Jewish tradition of beginning a new day at nightfall. I wanted to show the end, the finality of the event.

Everything came to an end—man, history, literature, religion, God. And yet we begin again with night. Chlomo Wiesel, a shopkeeper, and his wife, Sarah, née Feig. 1943, was a relatively calm one for the Jewish population. Jews had to declare the value of their property, and were forbidden from moving home, travelling, owning cars or radios, listening to foreign radio stations, or using the telephone. Jewish authors could no longer be published, their books were removed from libraries, and Jewish civil servants, journalists and lawyers were sacked. Between 15 May and 8 July 1944, 437,402 Hungarian Jews are recorded as having been sent there on 147 trains, most gassed on arrival.